It’s been a long time since I’ve done this, so I thought I should start with this particular message. What I’m about to do is give you my opinion on a topic that I’ve been somewhat passionate about for a lot of years. The first time I wrote about this topic, which is comments, was back in 2008, so let’s say at least 13 1/2 years. I already know some people are going to disagree with me because they do what I’m going to gripe about, but that’s okay. It’s my opinion, and one of the things bloggers need to learn is that if you give your opinion on something you have to be ready to either defend it or listen to what someone else has to say and decide if you want to change it.
She never ignored me
I have a lot of flexibility when it comes to a lot of things. I even have a lot of flexibility when it comes to blogging in general. However, there are some things that I won’t do and some things that I don’t like that I see some other bloggers do, and that affects how I deal with or interact with those bloggers and their blogs.
I like visiting a lot of other blogs as I mentioned in my last article. I don’t always comment, but I comment probably more than the norm. However, there’s two actions that I see happening more often these days that irks me so much that I even refuse to share those blogs with anybody on Twitter, which is where I share a lot of other people’s written word. When other people help promote your articles it’s a bonus; trust me on this.
The first thing I don’t like is visiting a blog that has comments from other people, but the writer has never addressed any of them. I think that’s disingenuous to the audience and a waste of everybody’s time. Why accept comments if you never going to respond to any of them? For that matter, why would you expect someone who left a comment on your blog to ever come back when it’s obvious you don’t care what they have to say?
I keep track of every single blog that I leave a comment on, and I check those blogs daily to see if my comment has been responded to. If my comment hasn’t been responded to after a week, I removed the link and then I put that particular blog on a list that I keep of blogs to never leave comments on again. Not only that, but I also won’t visit those blogs again because I don’t want to get emotionally involved in what I might read to the extent that I might want to have a comment. The emotionally part might sound extreme, but the fact is that if someone is compelled to write a comment, then you’ve struck a nerve either positively or negatively.
There is a caveat to the above that has to be taken into account, and is just like comments on YouTube videos. There’s a guy who’s been around even longer than me whose blog is called Problogger. Darren Rowse is known as the first millionaire blogger, although I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it made him very popular and rich. All these years later he still writes a lot of his articles, although he also accepts guest articles.
What I seen him do is respond to comments within the first couple of days and then not comment on any older newer comments unless something catches his eye. The thing is, he can get a couple hundred comments on his articles, but he’s still got to run his businesses and his other blogs, so I understand that there’s a point at which he might defer commenting. I think that’s fair, and some other popular bloggers used to do the exact same thing, but I’m not sure if those folks are still around anymore. But you see the same thing on YouTube videos that get lots of comments. It’s hard to continue to respond all those comments and still put out new content so they get a pass because at least they did address early comments.
Snoopy also hates being ignored
The second thing I don’t like is if I go to a blog that doesn’t accept comments at all. I know above I said that if you’re not going to show courtesy to people who leave comments then why accept comments at all. However, if you’re presenting it as a blog and you don’t accept comments, and you’re pretty much saying the same thing only a little bit more aggressively.
Having said that, I make allowances for people who are somewhat well known who don’t accept comments such as someone like Seth Godin. However, just because I make allowance for it doesn’t mean that I’ll read it. I’ve only been in his blog once, realized he doesn’t allow comments, and moved on. I understand that he has a lot of fans, and thta people love to read what he has to say. I’m going acknowledge that maybe he says some good stuff because I read one of his books years ago and I enjoyed it. Still, I don’t expect comments to be responded to in a book, but after all these years I expect to be able to leave a comment if I’ve been inspired to do so.
I also make allowances for people who accept comments, respond to them, but have a short window where they allow them. My Friend Ramana has a 3-week window for people to comment on what he’s written. He’s the one guy I know who’s written way more articles than me, and he has a regular group of bloggers he’s connected to who all comment on each other’s blogs, and they seem happy about it and any “newbies” who pass by. My limit is 4 years before comments shut down, though if I repurpose an older article and keep some of the previous comments the 4-year period starts over.
If I’m investing my time in reading content on a blog, and decide I want to leave a comment and don’t have the ability to leave one, or later on find out that the person who wrote the blog article couldn’t care less about my comment, I feel insulted. This also goes for those blogs that have a comment area, but after a few days I don’t see my comment anywhere. I wonder if the writers are ignoring other people who’ve left comments or aren’t used to getting comments. I’m sure those folks feel a bit of worthlessness just like I do.
As I said the beginning, this is my opinion. If your writing is generating business, or it’s a blog where you just want to say what you want to say without hearing what other people have to say about it, that’s your right. If you’re using your blog to see if you get any comments because it helps to buffer your ego, but you’re unwilling to respond to it other than giving a quick “thank you”, then that’s just a shame and I’ll leave it at that.
To anyone who reads this article, if you decide to leave a comment, whether you agree with me or not, I want you to know that I value the time you have put into responding to what I’ve had to say, whether I agree with you are not. That’s how discourse is supposed to work… At least that’s how I see it. So, how do the rest of you feel about this?